Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Great actress / jawdropping singer Deanna Durbin plays great actress / jawdropping singer Kim Walker in the sort of lazy by-the-numbers romcom vehicle that two years later surely motivated her high-profile decision to quit the movie industry altogether. Nearly 70 years on, even wikipedia cannot be bothered giving these 88 minutes a page. Now that's mediocrity.

However the uninspired story is pretty well all that's lacking here. Durbin's performance is strong as usual, and her singing spell-binding enough to save anything else the lifeless plot can throw at this review.

Franchot Tone acts the part of love interest Paul Taylor perfectly well, but is betrayed by the script having him behave like a cad in just about every scene he's in.

Charles Laughton as John Sheridan affects neither the projection of a stage actorr, nor the disposition of a rival for Kim's affections, yet he still manages to be fun to watch throughout.

The direction too has its moments, most notably the sequence when Durbin performs her old trick of escaping from a locked room by singing. Poor Paul effectively becomes a silent movie star for this number, miming a man who cannot escape Kim's warbling, no matter which direction he turns in. The extended journey that the camera takes us on as he dodges the crowds, the elevator, and the enormous lobby of people downstairs is breathtaking, even if he really ought to be able to tell where her voice is coming from by just using his two ears. (presumably not a film made in stereo then)

I remember watching this sequence, and many others, when I was a kid, so I guess this film held my attention pretty well back then too.

Pleased to report that it has managed to do that again this week.

More than anything else though, probably because of her.

(available here)


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